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  • Author or Editor: Leonardo Rangel-Castilla x
  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
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Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Paul J. Holman, Chandan Krishna, Todd W. Trask, Richard P. Klucznik and Orlando M. Diaz

Object

Spinal extradural (epidural) arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are uncommon vascular lesions of the spine with arteriovenous shunting located primarily in the epidural venous plexus. Understanding the complex anatomical variations of these uncommon lesions is important for management. The authors describe the different types of spinal extradural AVFs and their endovascular management using Onyx.

Methods

Eight spinal extradural AVFs in 7 patients were studied using MR imaging, spinal angiography, and dynamic CT (DynaCT) between 2005 and 2009. Special consideration was given to the anatomy, pattern of venous drainage, and mass effect upon the nerve roots, spinal cord, and vertebrae.

Results

The neuroaxial location of the 8 spinal extradural AVFs was lumbosacral in 1 patient, lumbar in 4 patients, thoracic in 2 patients, and cervical in 1 patient. Spinal extradural AVFs were divided into 3 types. In Type A spinal extradural AVFs, arteriovenous shunting occurs in the epidural space and these types have an intradural draining vein causing venous hypertension and spinal cord edema with associated myelopathy or cauda equina syndrome. Type B1 malformations are confined to the epidural space with no intradural draining vein, causing compression of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots with myelopathy and/or radiculopathy. Type B2 malformations are also confined to the epidural space with no intradural draining vein and no mass effect, and are asymptomatic. There were 4 Type A spinal extradural AVFs, 3 Type B1s, and 1 Type B2. Onyx was used in all cases for embolization. Follow-up at 6–24 months showed that 4 patients experienced excellent recovery. Three patients with Type A spinal extradural AVFs attained good motor recovery but experienced persistent bladder and/or bowel problems.

Conclusions

The current description of the different types of spinal extradural AVFs can help in understanding their pathophysiology and guide management. DynaCT was found to be useful in understanding the complex anatomy of these lesions. Endovascular treatment with Onyx is a good alternative for spinal extradural AVF management.

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Steven W. Hwang, Loyola V. Gressot, Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Robert J. Bollo, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

The most common cause of cervical spine arthrodesis in the pediatric population is instability related to congenital or traumatic pathology. Instrumenting the cervical spine can be challenging given smaller anatomical structures, less ossified bone, and future growth potential and development. Studies in adult patients have suggested that using screw constructs results in improved outcomes with lower rates of instrumentation failure. However, the pediatric literature is limited to small retrospective series. Based on a review of the literature and their own patient series, the authors report that instrumenting the pediatric cervical spine with screw constructs may be safer and more effective than using wiring techniques.

Methods

The authors reviewed the existing pediatric cervical spine arthrodesis literature and contributed 31 of their own cases from September 1, 2007, to January 1, 2011. They reviewed 204 abstracts from January 1, 1966, to December 31, 2010, and 80 manuscripts with 883 total patients were included in the review. They recorded demographic, radiographic, and outcomes data—as well as surgical details—with a focus on fusion rates and complications.

Patients were then grouped into categories based upon the procedure performed: 1) patients who underwent fusions bridging the occipitocervical junction and 2) patients who underwent fusion of the cervical spine that did not include the occiput, thus including atlantoaxial and subaxial fusions. Patients were further subdivided according to the type of instrumentation used—some had posterior cervical fusion with wiring (with or without rod implantation); others had posterior cervical fusion with screws.

Results

The entire series comprised 914 patients with a mean age of 8.30 years. Congenital abnormalities were encountered most often (in 55% of cases), and patients had a mean follow-up of 32.5 months. From the entire cohort, 242 patients (26%) experienced postsurgical complications, and 50 patients (5%) had multiple complications. The overall fusion rate was 94.4%.

For occipitocervical fusions (N = 285), both screw and wiring groups had very high fusion rates (99% and 95%, respectively, p = 0.08). However, wiring was associated with a higher complication rate. From a sample of 252 patients, 14% of those treated with screw instrumentation had complications, compared with 50% of patients treated with wiring (p < 0.05).

In cervical fusions not involving the occipitocervical junction (N = 181), screw constructs had a 99% fusion rate, whereas wire instrumentation only had an 83% fusion rate (p < 0.05). Similarly, patients who underwent screw fixation had a lower complication profile (15%) when compared with those treated with wiring constructs (54%, p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The results of this study are limited by variations in construct design, use of orthoses, follow-up duration, and newer adjuvant products promoting fusions. However, a literature review and the authors' own series of pediatric cases suggest that instrumentation of the cervical spine in children may be safer and more efficacious using screw constructs rather than wiring techniques.